CABI’s centre in Pakistan is dedicated to helping improve the empowerment of female cotton farm workers as part of its remit under the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) which is tasked with trying to avert annual cotton crop losses of around $350m.
The BCI’s Better Cotton Growth & Innovation Fund recently awarded CABI £1.59m in funding to help Pakistan produce over 451,887 metric tonnes of cotton lint between now and 2025. This follows five previous years of the project ‘Producing better cotton in Pakistan.’
As part of the BCI project, CABI is supporting the cotton industry’s women and their female entrepreneurship for sustainable income generation through tailoring centres. This is in addition to value addition for greater income generation for poorer women farm workers through animal farming such as the rearing of rabbits and chickens for meat and eggs.
New skills for empowerment
After the cotton harvesting season, women in the villages near the cotton fields have free time which can be filled by learning new skills – such as making cloths, shawls, quilts and pillows and other repair work carried out in the tailoring workshops.
CABI, through the BCI project, is not only making sewing machines available but is also providing training staff to teach the women how to use them efficiently.
Here are the stories of female farm workers from villages in the district Mirpurkhas.
Miss Bhoori’s story
The village Mukhtiar Ahmed is remote and underprivileged women have had little knowledge of how to earn extra incomes as entrepreneurs. Miss Bhoori joined the income generation programme and is determined to reap its benefits.
Miss Bhoori said, “Before joining CABI’s entrepreneurship teachings, I didn’t have any idea regarding income generation and running my own business.
“Gradually I have become motivated to learn new skills and have trained as a tailor where I can now reach greater potential. Myself and my family are grateful to CABI for giving me a sewing machine and the ability to improve our quality of life.
“I have also been able to train other girls who are now able to stand on their own fee by working with me to sew dresses, bags, jackets and all kinds of fashionable clothes.
“It was a dream to run such a business and with the support of helpers I am achieving this. The sewing machine and training has helped me achieve more economic independence.”
Miss Samarti’s story
Miss Samarti lives in the village Haji Ghulam Rajar and is also grateful to have received a sewing machine from CABI. As a woman living with a disability, she has faced many hurdles in life – these have included some people thinking that her disability has meant that she cannot work let alone be an entrepreneur.
Miss Samarti said, “Previously I wasn’t confident of my abilities but with the help of CABI’s entrepreneurship facilitation, I have learned the skills of sewing and have also trained many women in my community.
“I can now earn extra money at home and save for my children’s security. I am thankful for CABI’s support.”
Miss Roshan Bano’s story
Miss Roshan Bano is a focal person in her community – running a sewing centre at her house where she has already trained 16 girls within the space of just three months. The training is ongoing and she is also taking the opportunity to develop linkages with the support of CABI with local organizations – taking small loans to enhance her entrepreneurship.
Miss Roshan Bano said, “I am thankful for CABI who have provided me with these chances to improve my livelihood.
“I have purchased by own pecko sewing machine through a small loan and from savings made from stitching cloths. I am hopeful for a better future and the prosperity of the other girls.
“This is an example for the community to take avail of the sewing centre. Investment in women and girls is a proven path to reducing poverty.”
Main image: CABI is helping female cotton farm workers boost their incomes through entrepreneurship as part of its work under the Better Cotton Initiative (Credit: CABI).
Kainat (Women Entrepreneur Facilitator)
Humera (Women Entrepreneur Facilitator)
Noor Nabi Bhutto (Project Manager)
Find out more about how CABI is helping to produce better cotton in Pakistan as part of the Better Cotton Initiative from the project page here.
Other relevant news story
See also the news story ‘CABI’s work to help Pakistan produce better cotton extended for another three years.’
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